Emerging from the solitude of silence

Publish Time: 2019-11-14 Author: Tian Xuefei and Zhou Huiying in Harbin From: China Daily

Woman's volunteer work has given the gift of hearing to thousands of people in remote areas

After a short rest during the National Day holiday, Li Haibing began to prepare for her fourth visit to the Tibet autonomous region in two years.

She is neither a travel enthusiast nor a pilgrim. However, the 46-year-old from Harbin, Heilongjiang province, is skilled in fitting hearing aids for people with hearing difficulties, which has taken her to poverty-stricken areas around China.

In 2017, Li gained certificates from Jiangsu province's Human Resources and Social Security Department that qualified her as a professional hearing-aid fitter.

"Soon after getting the certificates, I was invited to join in a public welfare project that provided 2,000 hearing aids to the impoverished elderly in Shanghai for free," she said.

"When I was told that due to the lack of hearing-aid professionals the project didn't run smoothly, I agreed without any hesitation."

She spent 18 days with six other hearing-aid fitters visiting a dozen villages around Shanghai and testing more than 10,000 seniors who had various levels of hearing difficulties.

"Because of the large number of patients, we had to work from morning till night," she said. "Finally, we chose the 2,000 most eligible for assistance and fitted hearing aids for them.

"I remember an old woman couldn't help singing and dancing after her fitting," Li said.

"She told me that she had been in a world of silence for more than 10 years, but she never thought she could afford a hearing aid that cost up to 10,000 yuan (1,430 USD)."

Li said she was excited that such a small device could bring great joy into a person's life.

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